If you’re looking for some tire workouts that will kick your butt, I am going to go over 4 in this article that will have you so dead, you’ll be simultaneously cursing and thanking yourself that you came across this article.
Tires make for some phenomenal workouts–I’ve used tires for years, both in my own training and with my personal training clients. I rate them so highly that when I opened my own gym years ago, I got 4!
In this article, you’ll learn:
Go hard, go long! You need a lot of space to complete this workout, but it’s a classic all-gas no brakes set up, designed to have you gasping. It’s simple – take three tough exercises and combine them. Repeat until you can’t!
What you need: Large, heavy tire. At least 20 yards of straight line space. Sledgehammer.
Perform a burpee into tire jump (full burpee, but jump on top of the large tyre in front rather than into a standing position).
I made a Youtube video on how to do this one here:
Repeat for 40 yards.
Once you’ve completed the burpees to flips for the full 40 yards, grab the sledgehammer and hit the tire from both sides for 30 second bursts.
That’s one set. Minimize rest periods to maintain intensity.
Beginners: Perform 2 sets
Intermediates: Perform 3 sets
Advanced: perform 4 or 5 sets
This is a classic full-body workout done in a circuit. It’s designed so you run through the exercises without rest, pushing yourself hard to maintain a maximum heart rate throughout.
What you need: Large, heavy tire. At least 40 yards of straight line space.
Perform 20 reps of each exercise in the following order…
Here is another Youtube video, by yours truly, showing how to do this:
Beginners: Perform 1 round
Intermediates: Perform 2 rounds
Advanced: As many rounds as you can!
This is class tire training – simple, spartan, hard.
It’s three exercises combined into a single rep, repeated until you get to 100 reps. If this doesn’t have you gasping for air, you didn’t do it right!
It’s a classic finisher that I use with my clients.
What you need: Large, heavy tire.
Perform a burpee. Flip the tire. Once it has completed a full flip, jump into it and back out the other side.
That’s 1 rep.
Perform another burpee, flip it back on itself and jump through again.
Complete 100 reps in as little time as possible.
Simple, time efficient and trains the whole body. There’s nothing to dislike about this workout, but by the end you’ll feel like you’ve been in a battle!
What you need: Large, heavy tire. 30 yards of straight line space
Three tire flips. Two feet-elevated push ups. One burpee, followed by a 30 yard run. Keep rest periods between reps as short as possible.
Beginner: Repeat for 10 rounds
Intermediate: Repeat for 15 rounds
Advanced: 20 if you’re a beast!
Rest: To keep the intensity high, maintain short rest periods between sets.
There’s all kinds of different types of tire, so you have to consider what you’re going for. It needs to be heavy enough to be challenging, but light enough to be able to move. Consider storage too – the heavier it is, the bigger it is.
You may be thinking “no problem, I’ll store it outside”. That’s fine… as long as you don’t experience rain, because heavy rain will fill a tire up like a bucket, and you don’t want to have to empty a tire full of rainwater before each workout!
Here’s a list of considerations with a workout tire…
Once you’ve checked the tire over and are happy it’s suitable, it’s on to the next stage. Preparing the tire for workout use…
There’s so much versatility in tires; they can give you a full body workout in a short period of time. Whether the focus is strength, conditioning and functional fitness, tires can do the job.
It’s also nice to change things up from barbells, kettlebells and dumbbells once in a while.
There’s another benefit of tires in a home gym… THEY’RE OFTEN FREE!
That’s right! Depending on where you live, farmers have to pay to dispose of their tractor tires. If you ask nicely, they’ll happily give you a tire for free, and in many cases, even drop it off for you.
There’s a good chance that the tire you’ll have picked up will have spent plenty of time rolling it’s way through fields full of crap, and you don’t want to put your hands in that on a workout!
Here’s how you get a tire workout ready…
It’s not a quick process, but it’s worth it. Tires have usually seen a lot of use and are rarely cleaned in a couple of minutes – you really need to put the time and effort into it. You wouldn’t want to short-cut it and make a mess of your gym.
Below is an example of the drainage holes I drilled all around my tires – they help water drain out easily after cleaning…
Mid way through the cleaning and disinfecting process…
First of all, embrace the difference that a tire offers. It’s not a barbell, so don’t treat it like one.
Form and function here are different; with odd-object training, you’re supposed to be challenging yourself in new ways. You won’t always lift in perfect technique with a neutral spine. Accept the fact that form will vary – just don’t do anything stupid. Still engage the core, still lift as cleanly as you can, just don’t expect perfection every time.
Think explosive, powerful movements that make you athletically better, uniquely stronger and challenge you in new ways. Using tires takes you out of your comfort zone and poses you problems that normal gym equipment doesn’t.
Unlike a barbell, a tire is a fixed weight. You can’t easily increase the load, so you have to play with four different variables to increase the intensity of the workout…
To truly get the most out of a tire workout the key is to not over-complicate it. Think simple movements, high-intensity and huge work rate. That’s the trick to tire workouts.
The most important tire exercise of all is the tire flip. It’s an explosive movement that trains a huge amount of muscle in one go. It trains the legs, forearms, glutes, lower back, core and pushing power in a single exercise.
There’s no ‘perfect’ way to flip a tire because the size of the tire and our own lever lengths vary significantly. This is how I do it and coach my clients to do it though…
In slow motion, it looks like this…
So now you know how to flip a tire, let’s look at how you can introduce them into your workouts.
I always base my tire workouts around the flip, because I believe it’s the biggest bang for your buck exercise there is with a tire. That single exercise trains your legs, glutes, lower back, core and forearms. It’s a true compound lift.
The tire flip is also functional because it demands good mobility, pulling and pushing strength. It asks you to use your lower and upper body together and it requires you to coordinate multiple movements into a single exercise. It makes you work hard.
Multiple heavy tire flips are a great workout on their own!
I’ve included 4 tire workouts I use in the article, but there are other great ideas – I just didn’t have room for them here!
If you can secure a rope or straps to your tire, dragging your tire can give you an excellent workout. You can even stack multiple tires on top of each other to make it even tougher!
It also makes a great partner exercise, if you make the weight heavy enough…
An excellent use of a tire is as a target for sledgehammer workouts. It’s no more complicated than that – use the sledgehammer on opposite sides of your body to hit the tire as hard as you can.
It’s an excellent core and conditioning workout, with effective carryover into sports.
As I’ve shown in this article, the tire can either be the main piece of equipment for the workout or it can simply be an item that’s used as part of a circuit. Making it part of a CrossFit WOD would be easy – it’s a perfect conditioning tool for an outdoor workout.
Here’s a few ideas that you could add into a WOD…
The name of the game with tire workouts is effective simplicity. A tire isn’t as versatile as a barbell, kettlebell or dumbbell, so don’t try to make it so.
Use its strengths – its weight, its awkwardness and its size. Maximise these with effective variety – flip it, hit it, jump on it, jump in it, use it for push ups. Just don’t try to get too creative and lose the essence of what makes the tire so good.
As I said earlier in the article, there’s a spartan element of tire workouts. It proves you don’t always need expensive or complicated equipment, you just need a solid work ethic and a little bit of space. With these in place you can literally transform your conditioning workouts and take your functional fitness and physique to the next level.
Once you’ve started tire training, you won’t look back! It’s the starting point for a whole new world of workout variety and fitness improvement.
Looking for other great workouts? Check out our article on the best Air Bike Workouts (that I do with my clients).